We’re going to talk about my Classic at some point, but not right now. Today’s spotlight belongs to Chris Lane, and rightly so. He did one heck of a job out there and deserves to be our 2012 Bassmaster Classic champion. He’ll be a good one, too.
One of the great things about this — maybe the greatest thing — is that Chris comes from a fishing family. His dad helped him and his brothers get started as bass anglers. I’m guessing he did a pretty good job of it because they all developed powerful sticks. There’s not an angler fishing professionally today that doesn’t respect them. I’m talking about all of them — Chris, Bobby and Arnie.
That respect isn’t limited to how many fish they catch, either. It’s about their whole attitude towards the sport, their honesty and integrity. They play the game by the rules and they play it very well.
That kind of stuff is important to all of us. It means that Chris and his brothers will be looking at the sport through a family and multi-generational lens. Their perspective is not that of an isolated pro concentrating only on his career. They’ll look at things as men who love the sport. That’s exactly what fishing needs.
We don’t need people out there selling product, or promoting themselves, or a guy who simply waves at the crowd at a local sports show and signs hats. We need men and women who will push our sport forward and take the time to make sure it survives into the distant future. A family of anglers like the Lanes will do exactly that. It’s what they are. It’s what they’re about.
Being a Classic champion is a powerful position. There aren’t very many of them. I think Chris will use his platform as the 2012 Bassmaster Classic champion effectively and efficiently. I’m not going to name names but we’ve had a few guys in the past who didn’t really understand the power of being a Classic champion. I’m not sure why but I know they didn’t. I could watch them and see that.
Chris and his brothers know better. They’ll all use his position the way it was meant to be used. Men, and women, and children will listen to him, to them. They’ll be moved because what they hear comes from the heart. After they meet Chris and Bobby and Arnie, they’ll understand what it means to be an angler. (Note: I didn’t say professional and I didn’t say bass. I said angler.) And they’ll understand why the outdoors matters.
Chris’ reign will not be about baits, techniques and locations. It’ll be about the big picture. That’s the real power of a Bassmaster Classic champion.
If it sounds like I’m gushing, it’s because I am. This is a great moment for traditional sports, the outdoors, fishing, bass fishing and professional bass fishing. It’s a great way to start the new season. I couldn’t be happier. 2012 is going to be a good year!